For Wesley, prevenient grace was a way of showing and proving that God was indeed Just, Good and Perfect and a God of Love. Wesley couldn’t accept or believe that God would leave man to a casting into heaven or hell out of just the divine prerogative of his Creator. The same choice that man had before the fall was restored by a sovereign choice by God himself, this was the anchor of Wesley’s theology concerning why he held to free will. Wesley, preaching on man’s ability to choose before the fall said, “And having this power, a power of choosing good or evil, he chose the latter: He chose evil. Thus “sin entered into the world,” and pain of every kind, preparatory to death.
Further, Collins contends, “…since men and women, apart from the grace of God, are spiritually dead, they have neither the ability nor the inclination to comprehend the dictates of God’s Holy Law, the same law that was inscribed on their hearts at creation and which is expressive of the image of God. Nevertheless, Wesley affirms that after the fall, God did not leave men and women in this utterly dejected state, but re-inscribed, in some measure, a knowledge of this moral law upon their hearts.” Prevenient grace now brings us to our final look at Wesley’s view/theology concerning free will.
Free Will- Conclusion
Wesley was a strong advocate that salvation didn’t rest in the merits of mankind. Humanity holds no power to earn salvation through any effort of works in the hope that said works would earn the favor of God. In fact, Wesley understood that whatever good works proceeded from humanity was because of the grace of God. In fact, it is God and God alone that originates the freedom of man, strengthens it, and brings it all to completion. Wesley would also contend that the work of salvation is wholly God’s work and at the same time God performs it all without contravening people’s capacity to believe in Christ or to reject Christ. Wesley once said, “How is it more for the glory of God to save man irresistibly, than to save him as a free agent, by such grace as he may either concur with or resist?”
Free will is a beautiful doctrine bursting forth with fountains of mercy and grace. In fact, we would do well to see free will in the term Wesley loved to use, and a term that captures the power of choice graced to humanity by God perfectly. Wesley preferred to speak of free will “as free grace.” In his sermon “Free Grace,” Wesley said: “How freely does God love the world!…The grace or love of God, whence cometh our salvation, is free in all, and free for all…”
Wesley loved the truth of free will/free grace. The gift of choice given to man by God was a truth he fought for with all his might. In this life, our decisions are of upmost importance. What we choice in the here and now will echo throughout eternity. We would do well to consider the choices we are making in the light of an eternity fast approaching. Choose Christ, and you embrace life. Why would you make anyone choice? Wesley would have embraced the statement, “A person cannot reject a Christ, who did not die for him.”